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Belliotti analyzes Russian author Dostoevsky in new book
Monday, August 29, 2016

Belliotti analyzes Russian author Dostoevsky in new book

Dr. Raymond Angelo Belliotti

Distinguished Teaching Professor Raymond Angelo Belliott iof the Department of Philosophy analyzes and evaluates a series of critical social issues in, “Dostoevsky’s Legal and Moral Philosophy: The Trial of Dmitri Karamazov,” his 19th book, released by Brill.

Within the context of the trial of Dmitri Karamazov, Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky provides character studies that track his understanding of fundamental human nature. “He unveils his principle of universal responsibility and how it is connected to spiritual faith and love of humanity. He calls upon us to embrace and practice unconditional love, while connecting salutary moral practice with transformative suffering,” Dr. Belliotti explained.

“Dostoevsky warns of the dangers of excessive pride and reveals his vision of Russia’s international destiny. He also tacitly addresses the relationship between our yearning for community and our simultaneous urge for individualism,” he added.

Dostoevsky does all this while providing an analysis of the 1864 legal reforms in Russia, particularly the nation’s acceptance of elements of the western rule of law and adversary system of adjudication. “In sum, the trial of Dmitri Karamazov manifests and justifies Dostoevsky’s general moral and legal theory,” Bellotti explained. “As such, that trial merits and rewards a close study.”

In the process of examining The Brothers Karamazov and Dostoevsky’s published political commentaries on historical Russian trials in the post-reform era, Belliotti relates Dostoevsky’s conclusions to the thought of Plato, Augustine, Anselm, Dante, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Sartre. Throughout the work, the author also compares, contrasts and evaluates Dostoevsky’s analyses with contemporary discussions of the rule of law, the adversary system and the relationship between individualism and communitarianism.

Belliotti argues that Dostoevsky’s amplified communitarianism is both the source of his greatest insights and the genesis of his most serious errors. Dostoevsky acknowledges the human need for intimacy, interpersonal connection and sharing, while unwittingly suffocating man’s equal requirement for individual empowerment, transcendence and independence. Not even the nonpareil Russian novelist can resolve once and forever an existential antinomy that partially defines the human condition, the author concludes.

Other books by Belliotti address jurisprudence, sexual ethics, ethnic identity, Nietzsche, the meaning of life, human happiness, philosophy and baseball, Machiavelli, Roman philosophy, posthumous harm, why philosophy matters, Dante, Shakespeare, Jesus and power.

Belliotti has been the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, Fredonia’s William T. Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award, a SUNY Foundation Research and Scholarship Recognition Award, and was selected to present Fredonia’s Kasling Lecture.

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